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Review: Perfect Partners (Love Unexpected) by Carly Phillips

Perfect Partners

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A “Love Unexpected” Novel …

No sooner had lawyers Chelsie Russell and Griffin Stuart lost their siblings in a car crash than they find themselves fighting for custody of their two year old niece. Griff wins only to discover Chelsie is the only one who can sooth the child’s night terrors and fears. Chelsie and Griff bond over the little girl and their growing sexual desire is mutual. But Chelsie’s been hurt before and Griff isn’t sure he can trust the woman who once tried to take his niece away. What will it take for these two unexpected lovers to believe they can be perfect partners after all?

 

 
Perfect Partners was…a rather “meh” category romance. I have no strong feelings about the book, the characters or the plot. The plot was is rather formulaic: Plot moppet’s parents (the hero’s brother and the heroine’ sister) are killed in an accident, orphaning the plot moppet. The heroine and hero are forced together by their love of the plot moppet and their desire to keep her safe and happy.

Since Perfect Partners is not an actual HQN category romance – just written exactly like one – the hero doesn’t force the heroine to marry him in order to deal with the plot moppet (which might have made the story more interesting, TBH). Instead of marriage, the two MCs create a marriage-like environment for the plot moppet by spending almost every evening together (and first) and then combining their businesses (both MCs are attorneys) to work out of the hero’s home office.

There are a couple of other threads of plot which were both more and less interesting than the romance arc: the actions and reactions of the heroine’s parents (less interesting) and the heroine’s work with domestic violence. Neither plot point did much to make Perfect Partners more interesting for me.

Meh.

Review: Enticed (Pregnancy & Passion, #1) by Maya Banks

Enticed

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Bryony Morgan has come to New York for answers–and she won’t accept a brush-off from the father of her unborn child. She fell for wealthy hotelier Rafael de Luca when he courted her for her beachfront real estate. Then he disappeared. That’s because a crash has left Rafe with selective amnesia. But how could he ever forget a combustible beauty like Bryony? His solution to their stalemate: return to the island where they met, and relive the unforgettable nights in question–until he remembers everything….

“Top Pick! […] An extraordinarily moving romance with wonderfully charismatic protagonists.”
–RT Book Reviews on The Tycoon’s Secret Affair

ENTICED was originally published as Enticed by His Forgotten Lover

 
Enticed is the first category romance that I have read by Maya Banks. Strangely enough, Maya Banks wrote the very first menage book that I read. I guess you can say that she helped to break me into reading erotica. So when I saw Maya Banks’ name on a HQN category romance, I had to grab it.

Enticed is – at first glance – a pretty typical Harlequin Presents story: ruthless business tycoon hero and innocent, financially needy heroine. At first glance.

The biggest differences – to me – was the general lack of angst, lack of conflict and the hero’s grovelling. Which greatly changed the tone of the book for me.

Enticed begins with the hero, Luca, at a public event and suffering from amnesia. He sees a woman glaring at him so he goes to speak to her and she informs him that not only had the two been in a relationship but that he’s going to be a father. The rest of the majority of the book revolves around Luca and Bryony trying to recover Luca’s memory.

There is very little angst in Enticed until the end of the book. There is little to no conflict in the book. I have to admit that the lack of angst and conflict really…made the book slow and boring for me. I was never emotionally invested in Enticed and I can barely remember the MCs names.

Although I found Enticed boring and slow, Maya Banks’s writing is still very polished and a pleasure to read.

Review: Back In The Italian’s Bed by Annie West

Back In The Italian's Bed

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No woman walks away from billionaire Fabrizio Armati’s bed. No woman except Jenna MacDonald. Now he’ll stop at nothing to get her back, and keep her there.

It’s love at first sight for Jenna when charismatic hotelier Fabrizio Armati sweeps her off her feet in Venice. That chance encounter sparks a sizzling affair that lasts until she discovers Fabrizio sees her as no more than a convenient, expendable mistress. Then her world falls apart.

Six months later Jenna tells herself she’s moved on. Until Fabrizio walks into a meeting to find her working for his greatest rival. She’s about to discover just how far he’ll go to get her back in his bed.

When revenge turns to passion, will surrender be on his terms, or hers?

This is a – without a doubt – 100% pure Harlequin Presents (HP) style novella. Even the title. And I ate it up, lol. It makes sense – Annie West has written many a Harlequin Presents.

So, you have the basic structure of a category romance: millionaire/billionaire ruthless business tycoon and lots of emotional angst. What made Back in the Italian’s Bed different is that Jenna has a little spunk. Fabrizio swept her off her feet but she left him when she realized he couldn’t [wouldn’t] give her what she needed (love). When the two meet again, she falls back into his bed but is still willing to leave him and make a new life for herself. That’s not the typical HP style – normally the woman would have eaten her heart out over hero.

Back in the Italian’s Bed is a pretty short story/novella – about 65 pages – and that’s the only downside of the book for me. The shortness of the word count didn’t allow for the full range of angst that you get from HP style novels. But don’t get it twisted, Jenna spends much time castigating herself for her attraction to Fabrizio. I have to admit that while HPs aren’t really my thing now, I have fond memories of gobbling them up by the bag-full. I am intrigued to read more of Annie West’s work.

Review: The Italian’s Inexperienced Mistress (Ruthless) (Harlequin Presents, #2621)

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When Angelo sought revenge Gwenna Hamilton added another, delicious dimension. Innocent and pretty, she had no chance when the Italian tycoon offered her the devil’s bargain: pay for her father’s freedom with her body.

In her naivete, Gwenna thought that Angelo would tire of her and her innocence very quickly. But he had more in mind than just one night…

 

 

 

 

This one…kinda pissed me off. Maybe I missed something but…

It’s a typical Harlequin. You get exactly what you expect and this was no exception. Rich ruthless tycoon forces young innocent virgin to become his mistress in order to pay her father’s bills. He treats her like shit then they fall in love and live Happily Ever After. You know, your typical Harlequin fare.

What bothered me about this book was the heroine’s dog, Piglet. There were frequent comments about the heroine feeding and/or sharing chocolate treats with the dog. I was flabbergasted and completely distracted by flipping back and forth to verify that it was a dog and not a pig and that she was feeding him chocolate.

WTF? Chocolate is poison to dogs. AFAIK, 100% of chocolate is poisonous to dogs.

So yeah, that’s all I paid attention to. And it really bothered me.

Waking Up Married by Mira Lyn Kelly

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Her first thought: “Who are you?”

It’s the morning after her cousin’s bachelorette party in Vegas and Megan Scott wakes up with the mother of all hangovers. Even worse, she’s in a stranger’s penthouse having woken up with something else as well – a funny, arrogant, sexy…husband!

Up until now, finding even a boyfriend had seemed impossible – been there, got the broken heart, sworn off men for good. Then a few martinis with Carter…no, Connor Reed and she’s gone from first meet to marriage in one night!

Megan wants a lawyer. But Connor’s shocking bombshell?

“I don’t want a divorce.”

 

 

This should have been a 4-5 star read but there were a few draggy moments that pulled the rating down.

For the most part…this is a rather cute story about finding the love of your life when you aren’t looking for it. The H/h meet in Vegas and wake up married…but that’s just the beginning.

Both characters have major hangups left over from childhood that has made forming permanent romantic relationships difficult (if not impossible). Watching them learn to trust and enjoy each other was a delight.
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Speed Dating (Harlequin NASCAR #2) by Nancy Warren

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One minute I’m locked out of my hotel room, and the next…Dylan Hargreave thinks I’m an actress paid to pose as his girlfriend at a North Carolina society wedding. How did this happen to me, of all people? Kendall Clarke, award-winning actuary, the veritable shining star of number crunchers who, just hours ago, learned her responsible fiance; (sorry, ex-fiance;) called off our wedding because he’d gotten one of my colleagues pregnant. What are the odds? Don’t tell me you’ve never heard of Dylan Hargreave. Celebrity NASCAR driver? People magazine’s Sexiest Man of the Year? Those eyes. That smile… Forget sensible! I’ve assessed the risk…and I’m taking it! I usually keep the brakes on, but as of now I’m taking a vacation. From me.

Kendall Clarke is an actuary, she’s engaged to a co-worker and she is 20 minutes away from winning the most prestigious award at her company. Her scumbag fiancé shows up at her hotel room to tell her that he’s been cheating on her with a fellow co-worker – who’s now pregnant – for several months. He’s breaking the engagement and he’s sitting with his new fiancée.

Kendall is shocked, embarrassed, and hurt. In her anxiety she manages to lock herself out of her hotel room, dressed only in an expensive slip. By chance she sees a man walking out of his room just as her bosses are walking around the corner. She slips into the room just in time.
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Dancing In The Moonlight (Cowboys of Cold Creek #2) by RaeAnne Thayne

Dancing in the moonlight

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Lieutenant Magdalena Cruz had come home…but it wasn’t the way she’d envisioned her return. And though all she wanted was to be alone, infuriatingly handsome Dr. Jake Dalton—of the enemy Daltons—wouldn’t cooperate. And she needed him to, because the walls around her heart were dangerously close to crumbling every time he came near….

Jake had spent most of his life trying to get closer to Maggie, with little to show for it. But she was the woman he’d always wanted, and no injury in the world could change that. Now if only he could convince her that the woman who stood before him was beautiful, desirable, whole…and meant to be his….

Dancing in the Moonlight is the story of military nurse Magdalena Cruz and home-town doctor Jake Dalton. Maggie and Jake have known each other their entire lives. The story starts with Maggie coming home after being discharged from Walter Reed Medical Center. She was injured in Afghanistan – one of her legs was amputated. She also lost her fiancée – he was horrified at her injuries and left her.
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